5 Uniquely American Laws That Other Countries Don’t Seem To Need
The United States is a pretty weird country. Even though what’s supposed to be the famous, usually screamed tenet of America is freedom, the actual freedoms we do and don’t have are cherry-picked and puzzling. People can’t seem to decide whether the government is a fierce tyrannical force that they need a tiny armory to defend themselves from, or whether constant government surveillance is a necessary evil. We also get people who criticize an overreaching, militant police force but have weird crushes on the FBI. Decoding the entire modus operandi is basically a mental floor routine that’ll leave you confused and frightened, probably exactly how they want it.
So it’s unsurprising that there’s a whole lot of regulations and laws in the U.S. that haven’t fallen far from the apple tree — at best confusing, at worst fully oxymoronic. Not that the rest of the world is nailing the practice of government, but usually the stance of a country is at least a little more consistent. Maybe it’s the effect of desperately clinging to a document written when people still considered ghosts and goblins a threat and were crapping into buckets, but who’s to say?
Here are five American laws that are likely, in the eyes of other modern governments, incredibly dumb.
Female Lawmakers’ Backwards Dress Codes
Being that the U.S. Congress is supposed to be the group of people that show the most sterling judgment of the populace, you’d hope that they were at least capable of organizing in some semblance of an adult manner, but more and more lately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. With shouting matches, interpersonal drama and cliquey seating arrangements, there’s a certain high school lunchroom vibe that seems like a waste of everyone’s time, which Congress is probably fine with given their exorbitant salaries.
Another point on the high school side of the scale is the fact that, despite being our chief legislative body, Congress still enforces a fucking dress code. And like most dress codes, it’s a whole lot more draconian when it comes to the female members. For example, women in Congress are still barred from wearing sleeveless dresses, maybe because they’re afraid that the sight of a bare shoulder will cause the male members to go full Tex Avery and accidentally press the nay button on a vote with their unrolling tongue. The rule even extends to female journalists, who were told they would be removed on subsequent offenses.
So just wear a pantsuit and avoid the whole mess about dresses, right? Well, that wasn’t allowed either until 1993, thanks to the efforts of Carol Moseley-Braun and Barbara Mikulski. Up until then, women, even after being elected to one of the highest offices in the country, were required to wear dresses, but not ones without sleeves — a strange, toddler-like demand. Sure, Britain isn’t much looser, but they also think “fanny” is a cuss, so is that such a win?
Kinder Surprise Eggs Banned
Another common feel in American law is the conflict between a country that’s supposed to be advocating for freedom above all, while seemingly convinced that every American has the death drive of a baby lustily staring at the forbidden liquids beneath the sink. One place this pops out is in the absence of the Kinder Surprise Egg in American stores. If you’ve been abroad, you’ve likely seen this beloved kids’ treat on store shelves, consisting of a chocolate egg with a hidden toy inside.
Apparently in the U.S., the same populace that’s supposed to be trusted with assault rifles is also in mortal danger of eating a chocolate egg so fast they don’t realize there’s a massive plastic capsule inside. Instead, any Kinder eggs you’ll see stateside are a de-weaponized version called “Kinder Joy,” where the toy is in a separate compartment. Though, based on their opinion of American kids’ brain activity, you’d think they’d all end up trying to dry-swallow a tiny plastic bicycle anyways.
Weird Real Egg Laws
The U.S. notoriously has a draconian policy on raw foods, causing many things like beloved foreign cheeses to be stripped away from travelers at customs and stored in some room that I assume is basically El Dorado for rats. Eggs, too, come under the close watchful eye of the government, with a whole battery of bullshit required between cloaca and kitchen.
If you want to sell an egg in the U.S., it needs to be washed in at least 90 degree water, sprayed with a chemical sanitizer and dried. Sounds like added safety, until you find out that any moisture left on the egg after cleaning carries a high risk of bacterial growth, making improper transport or storage dangerous. Washing also removes a natural cuticle that protects the egg. Basically, the U.S. makes the eggs much more susceptible to bacteria just so they look nicer on the shelf. Britain and the EU, meanwhile, lets the eggs retain all the safety measures nature put there in the first place, and instead tells egg producers, “If your eggs are too dirty to sell, maybe clean your shit up?”
The two approaches to eggs are so at odds that American eggs are illegal in the EU, and vice versa. Meanwhile, we’re totally cool with pink slime.
Number two is a bit of a switcheroo, with it being not a law or regulation that America does have, but one that it doesn’t: Notably, against direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising. Especially if you’ve ever taken in some late-night Law & Order reruns at your parents’ house over the holidays, you’ve been bombarded with commercials suggesting you may be rapidly dying, and only Peepoopafil can fix it.
New Zealand is the only other country that allows a prancing elderly man to tell you how he fixed his dogshit joints with a pill that has only a minor chance of causing a stroke. Everywhere else foolishly believes that if you need medication, your doctor probably isn’t relying on you to provide suggestions. It doesn’t help that the advertising is just as predatory as usual, mostly suggesting that if you don’t fix your allergies, your child will spit on you and leave you to cry in a musty robe while they go to the park to play with their other parent, who they now like more.
Sex With A Porcupine
For the most part, I’ve tried to avoid the classic “weird laws” for this article, as they’re extensively covered in listicles galore. The reason they are, though, is because they’re still incredibly entertaining; so I’ll give you at least one to trot out in your next awkward conversational silence. In the state of Florida (of course) it is illegal to have sexual relations with a porcupine. Despite the fact that fucking a porcupine doesn’t seem like an enjoyable experience for anyone except maybe Pinhead and company, the government felt the need to step in and save the population from a mons pubis full of prickers.
Sorry if you need to find new plans for the weekend.